Back to latest news

How to implement lean methodology in your construction projects

It’s a challenging time for the construction industry. Tight customer budgets, rising material costs and labour shortages are pressuring companies to run leaner operations. But while you might want to reduce your resources, putting lean methodology into practice can feel daunting.

Unlike traditional construction programmes, which use linear processes, lean construction is a series of connected conversations. How do you turn these conversations into a seamless workflow that your whole project team understands?

Are you still getting familiar with the lean methodology? You can read our introduction to lean construction before continuing this article.

To help you turn ideas into action, here are six steps for implementing lean methodology into your next construction project:

1. Make sure everyone understands the lean methodology

When you’re introducing any new technique, knowledge is power. Everyone involved needs to know the lean methodology to run your construction projects using this approach. More importantly, they need to share your view that it will deliver better results.

Before you embark on a lean construction project, ensure your whole team understands the principles. Many will use a linear working model, so they’ll need to get used to milestone planning and working in shorter phases.

They will also need to change the way they communicate. The lean methodology relies on teams identifying potential issues and workshopping solutions together – something your colleagues and contractors may not have done before.

2. Invest in the best software to manage your lean construction projects

It’s not just people who have difficulty adapting to the lean methodology; some construction software can’t cope either. That’s why your company needs a solution that can facilitate lean construction processes.

For example, your current software may not offer phase pull planning – an essential tool for implementing lean methodology in construction. To fully invest in a lean approach, it’s a good idea to try a solution like Asta Connect by Elecosoft.

Our lean construction software lets you pull plans from your master schedule and share task lists with each project team member. Asta Connect will also help you to track planned percentage complete (PPC), as you can see at a glance whether your tradespeople are working at the right pace.

3. Identify ways to put lean principles into action

The lean methodology is designed to help you achieve great results with just the right resources. So it’s crucial to find every opportunity to implement lean principles.

Pull planning allows you to break your project into manageable phases, so you can anticipate problems and make smarter construction choices. Rather than trying to boil the ocean, you can focus on a few decisions at a time. For example:

  • Are there any tasks you can add to the phase so specialist tradespeople don’t need to return at a later date?
  • Can teams work on separate areas of the site simultaneously without getting in each other’s way to speed up progress?
  • Are you using the most effective processes for minimising material waste?
  • Can you group deliveries or streamline site traffic to reduce your project’s carbon footprint?

The major advantage of choosing lean methodology over traditional construction processes is that you can adapt your plans as the project progresses. There’s always room for improvement.

Lookahead planning is a key principle of lean construction – so make sure you review the impact of your decisions on future work phases to make continual gains.

4. Set clear metrics and measure your progress

For any new method to yield long-term success, you need to prove it works. Your senior directors will want concrete evidence of lean construction’s benefits before fully investing in the approach. And lean construction software like Asta Connect can provide you with these metrics.

While your team might be working in phases, you still need to set overall project goals to meet your customers’ expectations. With Asta Connect, you can select programme KPIs and track your progress to ensure projects finish on time and within budget.

Lean methodology makes day-to-day communications less formal, so your team can share smaller wins in daily catch ups and weekly work planning meetings. However, you must still use a solution like Asta Connect to monitor formal KPIs and prove this approach delivers measurable improvements.

5. Continually review and improve your construction programme

The major difference between traditional construction models and lean methodology is how quickly you can learn and improve. Rather than waiting for the end-of-project wash-up meeting, your team works together in a lean construction project to solve problems as you progress.

Creating this culture of continuous learning will allow your business to make improvements mid-project and develop best practices for future building programmes. If something doesn’t go to plan, analyse what’s happened immediately to determine the root cause. That way, you won’t end up making the same mistake twice.

Implement lean construction methodology with Asta Connect

Get lean construction right, and the results are impressive: 80% of building companies say they can shorten the schedules of lean projects, 73% say their costs are lower than initially budgeted, and 66% find lean construction programmes are safer. But to enjoy these benefits, you must run your programmes using the best lean construction software.

Asta Connect helps project teams in the built environment collaborate using a central schedule and task management system. Through our solution, you can implement lean methodology in your future construction programmes.

Book your Asta Connect demo to start trialling lean construction.

Related news

5 misconceptions about moving to cloud-based project management software

Why is construction lagging behind so many other industries when it comes to digital transformation? In a recent article, Building journalist Thomas Lane noted that...
Read more
6th May 2024

The benefits of integrating cloud technology with Asta Powerproject

For the next five minutes, your name is David Newsom. You’re a Senior Planner at a major contracting firm using Asta Powerproject to plan and...
Read more
23rd April 2024

Eleco enhances its digital transformation capability

London, Tuesday 16th April, 2024: Today, Eleco plc, the specialist software provider for the built environment, announces its acquisition of custom software integration and development...
Read more
16th April 2024
Company News Featured